Editor's note: This story is part of Southwest Michigan Second Wave's On the Ground Battle Creek series.
The Cereal City will become the Apple City for a few hours on Oct. 8 to celebrate Michigan’s apple harvest during the 2020 Great Apple Crunch.
At noon on the day of the big crunch, residents of Battle Creek will join with their counterparts throughout neighboring states to bite into an apple.
“Last year we had 324,147 people register to crunch in Michigan and 1.8 million across all the Great Lakes Apple Crunch states. We hope to get to 2 million crunchers across the region this year,” says Mariel Borgman, Community Food Systems Educator with MSU Extension.
This is the eighth year for the Michigan Apple Crunch, organized by the Michigan Farm to Institution Network
with support from MSU Extension
. Borgman says it takes place in October because it is “Farm to School” month.
According to the Michigan Apple Committee
, Michigan is the nation’s third-largest producer of apples. There are 14.9 million apple trees in the state's apple orchards.
“This is a way to celebrate Michigan’s g bounty during harvest season and to try and get more institutions to purchase apples from local farmers,” Borgman says. “The Crunch is an annual farm to institution celebration in which schools, hospitals, early childcare and education programs and other organizations celebrate Michigan’s abundance of fresh, local produce by collectively crunching into Michigan apples in October.”
Last year the Battle Creek Public Schools, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Stars & Stripes Learning Station, LaMora Park Elementary, Post Franklin Elementary, Calhoun County Public Health Department, 365 Urban Farm, and Food Corps were among the local organizations that participated in the Big Crunch.
This year’s event will look a little different because of COVID-19. Borgman says many of those participating will be doing so virtually.
“When there was in-person school, we’d have an assembly or do something und during the lunch hour. Some schools are thinking about virtual crunches or using Zoom,” she says. “Given the unique circumstances of the pandemic, we have some new opportunities to support virtual crunch events and registration options for households and social groups.”
The website to register for the crunch is here
. Although the official crunch date is Oct. 8, crunches anytime during the month of October can register to be counted, Borgman says.
“We can count the number of people who register and that helps to track the competition,” she says. “We’re hoping to hear a lot of crunching going on.”